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John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, June 08, 2013

 

Thinking out loud…and wondering if you can gain weight by actually thinking fat thoughts…

• I’m a little numb to the whole PED story in baseball. The fact that MLB will try to suspend 20 players over their connection to an alleged clinic in Miami seems like trying to put out a fire with a squirt gun. What’s done is done, what has been done cannot be undone…

• Here’s my main thought on it all – these guys are in the business of entertaining, right? If they feel they can “entertain” the masses by improving their performance(s), so be it. Were you not thoroughly entertained by the record-setting HR barrage of the late ‘90’s? I was. I was also disappointed – though not surprised – to learn of the “enhancements” that occurred. Ego in sports is such that most any athlete will do anything to gain an edge over his competition. With all of the dollars dancing around out there, it shouldn’t be surprising to you, either…

• Rules are rules, however. It’s just that in baseball’s case, real rules came AFTER most of the damage was done. Give ‘em a pass…put an asterisk by their name…establish a drug czar…whatever. But let’s move on and play ball. Oh, and entertain me, too…

Tom Brady was quoted on CNBC this week that there “was no place for performance enhancing drugs in sports.” Sounds righteous, but I beg to differ. Those who run our sports leagues created the culture that enabled PED’s to become commonplace, in the first place…

A-Rod? A dog in pinstripes. He’s not worthy of the uniform. Especially since he can’t perform, with or without enhancements, it seems…

• Too good to be true…something else smells at Dodger Stadium, besides the baseball being played there, it seems…

Not for nuthin’…but they ought to be checking for skunks down the road in Anaheim, too. Don’t you think?

• Interesting piece in the Boston Globe this week, on the 10-year anniversary of Theo Epstein’s first draft class as Red Sox GM. 52 college and high school prospects were taken in 2003, and just four made it to the show – including Jonathan Papelbon

• I don’t know about you…but shouldn’t the Red Sox see if they can’t squeeze Jose Iglesias back in at shortstop a bit more, especially with his tearing it up at the plate since his recall from Pawtucket? Or, do you think the Sox keep Stephen Drew around so we can whine about him like we did his brother? Just sayin’

• Maybe that time on the pine at McCoy did Iglesias some good after all…

• Maybe it’s just me, but earlier in the week, when the Bruins were rolling over the Penguins…I sensed a little “dog” in the Pens. You?

• Loved hearing this – the morning after the Game Two beat down in Pittsburgh, a Jet Blue pilot flying media members from Pittsburgh to Boston actually attempted some humor over the intercom…by asking if the crying baby on board was Sidney Crosbycue the rim shot

• The Game Three double-OT affair was a classic, thanks to Pittsburgh’s decision to actually show up and play. Gregory Campbell (aka “Soup with nuts”) took one for the team – blocking an Evgeni Malkin shot in the 2nd period and breaking his leg. That rates a “wow.” So does Tuukka Rask’s performance between the pipes, stopping 53 of 54 shots. It is an amazing transformation from the team that nearly became one-and-done against Toronto…

• One of the most feared defenders in NFL history passed away this week, as David “Deacon” Jones left us at age 74. Hard to get a grip on this. He was simply one of the greatest players in league history, and defined what a “sack” was before the statistic was even kept. The Fearsome Foursome of the Los Angeles Rams of the ‘60’s and early ‘70’s with Roosevelt Grier, Lamar Lundy and Merlin Olsen defined the term “front four” on the defensive side of the ball, and Jones was the first (at defensive end) – and arguably most famous – to use the head slap on an offensive player. He would be a giant in today’s game…and is a true Hall of Famer in every sense of the word...

• Here’s another tidbit on Deacon Jones. He was drafted in the 14th round of the 1961 NFL Draft. Fourteenth round! Now that’s value even Bill Belichick can appreciate. SI.com’s Peter King said this week that football historian John Turney went back through the years before sacks were counted, and beginning in 1961, Jones had eight, 12, 20, 22, 19, 18, 26, 24, 15 and 12 tackles of quarterbacks behind the line. The NFL played just 12 games in 1961, and 14 in each of the other nine seasons. Value? How about best defensive end – ever?

• Here’s a sobering thought…recent college graduates are leaving New England at a faster rate than any region in the country, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Wise up, people

• Get ready for ads in your Tweets – Fox Sports 1 will have the ability to embed ads in their video highlights that they “tweet” to followers via social media, starting this summer. Sounds like a pretty good way to target consumers who follow/will follow Big East basketball, among other sports…

• He coaches, he wins (as long as it’s in college), he’s in the Hall of Fame, his son is a hot young coach, he owns race horses and now his face is on a bottle of bourbon. What doesn’t Rick Pitino do? 

• Speaking of the Cardinals…quite the athletic year they’re having, and may still have. Basketball won the national title. Football will be a contender for same. Baseball is in the NCAA Super Regional. And the entire program is headed to the ACC after one season in The American, starting this fall…

• I actually liked Taco Bell – one of many weaknesses – at one time. Now, I’m not so sure

• Remember college basketball games being played on ships? Oops, you blinked. They’re gone. For now…

• Frankly, with all of the money out there in the college sports world these days, I’m surprised we don’t see this happen more often. Former Auburn and Texas basketball player Varez Ward has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of point-shaving, while at Auburn, and throwing games to help gamblers during the 2011-12 season…

• Congrats to PC’s Bryce Cotton for his invitation to attend the World University Games team camp later this month in Colorado Springs. But considering the competition, and considering he’s coming off of knee surgery…actually making this team would be remarkable…

• A tragedy for Bentley University and the local hoops community this week as 19-year old sophomore Joe Glynn died unexpectedly while playing in a men’s league game Monday night. He was an all-scholastic player at Cardinal Spellman in Brockton…

• Former URI star and NBA pro Cuttino Mobley is continuing his comeback trail, after being out of the league since 2008 following a trade to the New York Knicks from the Los Angeles Clippers. The Knicks, at the time, discovered Mobley had a heart condition (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) they felt could be career-threatening…and Mobley announced his retirement in December. It’s the same disease that ultimately led to the deaths of Reggie Lewis and Hank Gathers. Now, he’s out to prove he can still play for someone, somewhere…

• You might be hearing more of the URI-to-Division I-hockey talk in the coming weeks, as Rhody has enquired about joining the Atlantic Hockey Association to replace UConn, which is leaving for Hockey East. It makes so much sense for a program that has been strong at the club level, but does it make cents for an athletic department holding onto football by the skin of its teeth?

• The Blue Line Commission, according to the Boston Herald, is comprised of alumni and faculty hoping to raise $5 million to fund the upgrade of URI’s program from club-to-varsity status. But satisfying Title IX (equality) rules also poses a problem…

• All you need to know about the mindset in the NBA – Denver fired George Karl after a franchise-record 57-win season. Wow. The pros are just like the colleges, except with less corruption…

• Last week I mentioned that Rob Gronkowski had some fun at the expense of his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, playfully “firing” him after waking up from surgery. And now…the other side of the story. The real world side. It seems that former Rosenhaus client DeSean Jackson owes his former agent some dough…for loans he was paid dating to March of 2009. So agent Rosenhaus is suing to get it back. Jackson’s extension with Philadelphia is similar to the one Gronk signed with the Patriots…and, Jackson is rumored to be pursuing a relationship with Jay-Z – the same guy Gronk kidded Rosenhaus he was hiring. The things you have to do to make a buck…

• Did you see the list of the all-time best-written television shows? The Writers Guild of America released its Top 101 Best Written TV Series list, and The Sopranos led the way at #1. Hard to argue with the series popularity, perhaps. Seinfeld was second, and my personal favorites – All in the Family and MASH – came in at #4 and 5, respectively…

Friday Night Lights came in at #22 on the list. Vastly underrated, IMHO…based on H.G. Bissinger’s non-fiction novel of the same name, it was very true-to-life. Having grown up in the culture of Texas high school football, and having experienced much of what the book, movie and TV series portrayed, FNL was as real as TV can get, outside of watching a game or the news…

• Oh the horror, the horror. As a Patriots’ fan, imagine ordering a Tom Brady fathead and getting this in return? Guess they needed to move product off the shelves…

• You know you’re getting old when…you’re the only one wearing Nike gear, and everyone else has on Under Armour. That’s what Brady told CNBC this week, when asked about his new endorsement deal. Not a good day for the Swoosh…

• Former Brown University president and current Ohio State wordsmith Gordon Gee has decided to retire from his position as OSU president on July 1. Considering his un-presidential comments of the past few days/weeks/months/years, I’m actually going to miss him and his unique ability to open-mouth-and-insert-foot…stupid is as stupid does

• Highest earning athletes in the past year? Forbes says: 1) Tiger Woods $78.1M, 2) Roger Federer $71.5M, 3) Kobe Bryant $61.9M, 4) LeBron James $59.8M. M stands for Million, in case you didn’t know. Wonder if LeBron will use this as motivation in the NBA finals?

• If you’re a golfer, you’ve undoubtedly come across your share of wildlife while playing a favorite course. But I’ll wager a $5 Nassau that you’ve never come across what was discovered on a Florida course this week…

• My buddy Statbeast sez he heard a story where a woman had just recently beaten her husband to death with a five-iron. Asked by the police how many times she hit him, she replied, sobbing. “I don’t know! Five, six, seven? Just put me down for a five.”

Tweet of the Week – from RI Problems @RIProbz: What do stop signs, yellow lights and speed limit signs have in common? They are all invisible to Rhode Islanders…

• A new low for sports talk radio, or a really funny bit? Listeners and simulcast viewers to WFAN this week heard/saw a live urine test – in response to all of the PED stuff going on – go awry…

• This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise…but the schools with the most teams ranked in the Division I Academic Progress Rate Top 10%, by sport, include Dartmouth (with 25 athletic teams), Brown (20) and Bucknell (19). As for conferences, the Ivy League ranked #1. But the Big East was #2, tied with the Patriot League, and the Atlantic-10 was fourth…

• This week’s Sign of the Apocalypse – a 7th grader from Phoenix, AZ has received not one, but two scholarship offers from state schools to play basketball. He won’t graduate from HIGH SCHOOL until 2018. But he’s already 6-8, dunking on kids who come up to his knees…

• A couple of weeks ago, I was chastised by a reader and a co-host/co-editor (Scott Cordischi) for always banging on Syracuse. Fellas – if your institution of higher learning would stay out of the headlines for the wrong reasons, I’d be happy to comply. Right now – they’re wonderful cannon fodder. Enjoy! 

• Paid a visit to my favorite Dunkin Donuts shop this week, and lo and behold, I saw something I never thought I’d see – a very large in-store ad for a glazed donut breakfast sandwich. An egg with bacon, between two glazed donut slices? And it’s only 360 calories? C’mon. That’s not fighting fair. I just took a fat punch to the midsection…

• From the mailbag this week…@soRIhoops via Twitter: “PC is not playing Bryant this year for hoops ? @JRbroadcaster” Hoops: Not for this next year, it appears. The non-league schedule for the Friars isn’t quite set in stone, but while Brown and URI are on the list, Bryant will take the year off. There is interest from both sides playing again, in the near future. The Friars, however, are focused this year on upgrading the schedule outside of the Big East, in order to increase post-season chances…

• Interested in having your questions on local RI sports (including the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions and comments to jrooke@golocalprov.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

• Don’t forget to join us for GoLocal Sports on 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am! Call in (401) 737-1287, or text us at 37937…and send email to the show - golocal@weei.com .

• The recently released “Rhode Island Radio” from Arcadia Publishing is available for sale, and the book tells the story of the 90-year history of radio in our state through photographs, clippings and memories from many of the personalities who have graced our airwaves. If you’re in search of the gift that says “Rhode Island,” you’ve found it. Or, find it in local bookstores and online right here… 

 

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